LWV League of Women Voters of California
Smart Voter
Orange County, CA November 5, 2002 Election
Measure N
Increase Visitor Tax to 13%
City of Garden Grove

15,801 / 55.6% Yes votes ...... 12,623 / 44.4% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 12 4:00pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (107/107)
Information shown below: Arguments |

Shall an ordinance which increases the hotel visitors tax from 10% to 13% be adopted?

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Arguments For Measure N Arguments Against Measure N
We urge you to vote YES on Measure N.

Measure N will provide badly needed funds for police, fire and other essential city services. Measure N authorizes an increase in the Hotel Visitor Tax by 3%. This increase will be paid for by tourists who stay in Garden Grove hotels... not Garden Grove residents.

Measure N will help ensure that the hotels pay their fair share for city services.

We have studied this issue and want to give you the facts about the Hotel Visitor Tax.

The Hotel Visitor Tax in Garden Grove provides essential funds to run city services. Garden Grove's public safety professionals support Measure N because it will provide nearly $2 Million Dollars per year to the City of Garden Grove... money that will mean safer streets and greater security.

Garden Grove currently has a 10% Hotel Visitor Tax that each hotel visitor pays. This is added on to each hotel bill at the end of a tourist's stay. Almost every community in America has this tax.

Our Hotel Visitor Tax is currently 33% lower than Anaheim. Tourists staying in Anaheim pay a 15% visitor tax. Measure N will increase the Garden Grove Visitor Tax to 13%, still lower than neighboring Anaheim. Garden Grove's hotel operators have studied this issue and are firmly convinced that a 3% increase will not harm their businesses or tourism. We will still be competitively lower than Anaheim!

We must be ready to meet new challenges. These are difficult times for our country and our community. We need to make sure that our local government can respond in any emergency situation or crisis. Measure N will help keep Garden Grove ready to respond to any emergency situation.



Rebuttal to Arguments For
This measure would make Garden Grove's hotel and motel occupancy taxes one third higher than the average of the tax on the cities bordering Garden Grove, 62 1/2% higher than some.

Our councilmen have gone hog wild creating multimillion dollar debts by donating multimillion dollars to developers. Now they want such high taxes as to scare visitors away.

With the first hotel being built at Harbor and Chapman, Garden Grove hotel and motel bed taxes were raised from 6% to 8%. Later they went to 10%. How greedy can our councilmen get? Is the next step 20%? or 30%?

About $ per year of Garden Grove property taxes go to the redevelopment agency where most of it is donated to hotel developers instead of going to schools and for vital city and county expenses. Do our councilmen expect Measure N to make up for their squandering our property taxes?

If enough visitors would be foolish enough to pay such high taxes that the hotels do not go bankrupt, what would Garden Grove residents benefit? In the last six years the city's general fund revenue has increased about 50% but we still have about the same number of police and firefighters and our residential streets are on a 13 year schedule for resurfacing when they had been on a schedule of a slurry seal or asphalt overlay every 4 years.

Tax and fee increases in recent years have provided no benefits for the residents. This Measure will not benefit us. - We urge opposition to this 30% increase.

Twice Garden Grove voters voted against increasing Garden Grove's hotel and motel bed taxes from the present 10% which is higher than the average of the cities bordering Garden Grove. Why would visitors pay 13% taxes when they can pay 8% or 9% in neighboring cities?

Although the voters twice said no, our greedy councilmen appear to have other intentions than to work for the benefit of the residents. Example: They recently added residential property to a redevelopment project area where it can be condemned by eminent domain, the residents required to move and the redevelopment agency receives more of Garden Grove property taxes where it cannot be used for citizen benefits.

Recent tax and fee increases haven't provided more police protection, fire protection or other citizen benefits. Actually some of our police officers have been assigned to patrol hotels built with multi-million dollar subsidies of Garden Grove tax dollars.

Garden Grove councilmen have heavily subsidized new hotels with Garden Grove property taxes gambling that Anaheim hotels cannot accomodate all of the Disneyland visitors. Haven't they noticed Anaheim adding hotels within walking distance of Disneyland? Do they think raising the hotel occupancy rate 30% will lure visitors?

How will the tax increase benefit Garden Grove residents? Money we pay for city water is now being used for other than supplying us with water. Money we pay for trash disposal gets used for other things. Property taxes had been paying for sewer services. We now pay sewer fees. What have we gained from the tax and fee increases? Not more police or fire protection nor more resident benefits. Even our streets get less maintenance. So why more tax increases?

What is gained from increasing the hotel occupancy taxes if it causes tourists to stay at hotels with lower taxes or at hotels within walking distance of Disneyland

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
We checked the facts and asked the experts. The arguments presented by the two individuals against Measure N are either misleading or flat out wrong.

#1. Measure N will not hurt tourism. The major Garden Grove Hotel owners have endorsed Measure N. They know their businesses will be helped, not hurt, by Measure N. In addition, the Garden Grove Chamber of Commerce twice previously endorsed hotel visitor tax increases. We trust that our hotel owners and business organizations know more about this issue than the two people who are against Measure N.

# 2. All of the hotel visitors tax goes the city's Basic Funds, not to redevelopment; and most of these Basic Funds go to public safety. We checked with Tony Andrade, Finance Director for the City of Garden Grove. Mr. Andrade stated on July 26, 2002 that "Visitor tax money is deposited in the Basic Funds, not redevelopment. It is also true that 68.3% of all the general fund in FY 2002-03 goes to public safety and related expenses."

# 3. The self-described "taxfighter" who opposes Measure N never tells you his plan to pay for police, firefighters, and other public safety needs. Where will the money come from? Does he plan to cut services? Does he plan to raise your taxes?

We trust the facts presented by Mr. Andrade, the Chamber of Commerce and the businesses directly affected by Measure N. A Yes vote on Measure N will responsibly address our City's Public Safety needs.

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Created: December 6, 2002 03:14 PST
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